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still fought on, and when compelled to yield ground to overwhelming odds, fell back with a force of about seventy-live men, still returning the enemy's fire, and refused to surrendor until fighting was useless.
Lieutenant-Colonel Tato and Major York, Captains McPherson and Ray, and Lieutenant Mebane, of the Sixth, with Captain Adams, of the staff, broke away, and escaped over the bridge in the darkness. Lieutenants Williams, Smith, and Fitzgerald, of the Fifty-fourth; Brown, of the Sixth, with a few others, plunged into the river and swam safely over; but, unfortunately, some others were drowned. Lieutenant-Colonel H. Jones, Jr., of the Fifty-seventh, and Captain White, of the Sixth, plunged in to swim, but the coldness of the water compelled them to put back.
The casualties of our brigade are small in killed and wounded. Adjutant Mebanc, of the Sixth, wounded in arm and side; William Johnston, Captain White's company, wounded in thigb severely, though not mortally; Sergeant Crisman, Captain Hooper's company, killed. The brigade is almost annihilated. The Fifty-fourth regiment has only one captain (Paschall) left, with five lieutenants, and about fifteen men remaining. The fragments of the brigade are now collected under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Tate, of the Sixth, and attached to the Louisiana brigade. These fragments now number about two hundred and seventy-five men. This is a serious disaster, so far as our feelings are concerned, but it docs not shake our hopes as to success. This sad affair took place in the presence of General Lee and Major-General Early, who had arrived on this side the river.
The loss of the enemy has been serious, as the ground in front of our works was literally covered with his dead. At midnight on Saturday night. General Lee began to fall back. On Sunday morning, he formed the line of battle beyond Culpeper; but although the enemy had forced the guard at Kelly's Ford, and compelled General Rhodes to fall back with a loss of two hundred men killed, wounded, and missing, yet no attack was made on us by the infantry. In the afternoon, the enemy's cavalry attacked General Wilcox's brigade, and were badly cut up. During Sunday night General Lee fell back to his old position south of the Rapidan.
P. S.—Lieutenants Morrison, Lefler, and Maynard, of the Fifty-seventh, are all safe. John Paris,
Chaplain Fifty-fourth Regiment N. C. T.
GENERAL MEADE'S CONGRATULATORY ORDER.
HEADQUARTERS AllMY OF TIIK POTOMAC, [
November 9. f
•general Order No. 101.
The Commanding General congratulates the army upon the recent successful passage of the Rappahannock in the face of the enemy, compelling him to withdraw to his intrenchments behind the Rapidan. To Major-General Sedgwick and the officers and men of the Fifth and Sixth corps participating in tho attack, particu
larly to the storming party under Brigadier-General Russell, his thanks are due. The gallantry displayed in the assault on the enemy's intrenched position of Rapahannock Station, resulting in the capture of four guns, two thousand small arms, eight battle-flags, one bridge train, and one thousand six hundred prisoners. To MajorGeneral French and the officers and men of the Third corps engaged, particularly to the leading column, commanded by Colonel De Trobriand, his thanks are due for the gallantry displayed in the crossing at Kelly's Ford, and the seizure of the enemy's intrenchments, and the capturo of over four hundred prisoners. The Commanding General takes great pleasure in announcing to the army that the President has expressed his satisfaction with its recent operations.
By command of Major-General Meade. S. Williams,
GENERAL nUSSELL'S CONGRATULATORY ORDER.
Headquarters Third Brigade, 1
General Orders, No. 51.
Officers And Soldiers: Your gallant deeds of the seventh of November will live in the annals of your country, and will be not the least glorious of the exploits of the Army of the Potomac.
But your General cannot but express to you himself his congratulations upon your success, and his appreciation of your daring and gallantry. To have carried by storm, with a mere skirmish line and a feeble support in numbers, powerful earthworks, a strong natural position, manned by the flower of the rebel army, and strengthened by artillery, would be an achievement that a division of our forces might well feel pride in; but it was not too much for the gallant sons of Maine and Wisconsin.
The hearty, generous, and glorious support of Pennsylvania in the strife should serve to bind yet closer together the East, the Middle States, and the West, and to her troops belongs no small share of our victory.*
Your General felt confident that soldiers, who in camp observe all the strict rules of military life with fidelity, would prove equally reliable in the field; and in this, the first essay of your prowess, you exceeded his most sanguine expectations.
With tho actual results of your engagement you are all too familiar to render any recapitulation necessary; but there is the further reflection to offset the saddening influence of the loss of your well-tried and courageous brothers-inarms, that any subsequent attack upon your opponents, better prepared and strengthened as they would have been, must have been attended with a yet sadder and, it may be, a less successful result.
And H is just and fitting here to acknowledge the soldierly conduct and valuable assistauce of
•Thisbripide consisted of the Sixth Maine, Fifth Wisconsin, Forty-ninth and One Hundred and Nineteenth Pennsylvania.
Colonel Upton and his gallant regiments, the Fifth Maine and the One Hundred and Twentyfirst New-York. Prompt in their support, they deserve our heartiest thanks, as by their bravery they won a large share of the honors of the day.
The banners of this brigade shall bear the name, "Rappahannock," to perpetuate, so long as those banners shall endure, dropping and shredding away though they may be for generations, the proud triumph won by you on the seventh of November, 1803.
By command of Brigadier-General D. A. RusSell. C. A. Hitrd,
LETTER OF NEW-YORK MERCHANTS.
lion. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, J). C.:
Silt: The continued depredations of the rebel cruisers on the mercantile marine of the country have not only destroyed a large amount of the active capital of the merchants, but seriously threaten the very existence of that valuable part of our commerce.
Apart from the loss of so much individual wealth and the destruction of so valuable a source of material power and enterprise, it is humiliating to our pride as citizens of the first naval power on the earth that a couple of indifferently equipped rebel cruisers should for so long a period threaten our commerco with annihilation. It is a painful source of mortification to every American, alt home and abroad, that the great highways of our commerce have hitherto been left so unprotected by the almost total absence of national armed vessels as to induce rebel insolence to attack our Hag almost at the entrance of our harbors, and to actually blockade our merchantmen at the Cape of Good Hope recently— an account of which you have here inclosed, being a copy of a letter recently received from a captain of one of the blockaded ships, having a valuable cargo. We are conscious that it is no easy matter to capture a couple of cruisers on the boundless waters of the ocean, aided and abetted as they too often have been at ports where international comity, if not international law, has been set at defiance, and we have witnessed with satisfaction the patriotic zeal and energy of your Department and the glorious successes of our navy in subduing the rebellion which threatens our national Union. Still we think that the loyal merchants and ship-owners of the country, whose zeal and patriotic cooperation have generously furnished the funds to sustain the Government, are entitled to have a more energetic protection of their interests than has been hitherto extended to them. Your very arduous official duties have, no doubt, prevented you from investigating the serious inroads which the unprotected state of our carrying trade has
produced on our tonnage; and, without troubling you with the great loss which our ship-owners sustain in the almost total loss of foreign commerce, it is only necessary to call your attention to the inclosed table, prepared and published by one of the best informed commercial journals of this city, showing the loss of the carrying trade on the imports and exports of this city alone, by which you will perceive, that while during the quarter ending June thirtieth, 18(50, we imported and exported over sixty-two million dollars in American vessels, and but thirty million dollars in foreign vessels; we have in the corresponding quarter of this year only twentythree million dollars by our own ships, while we have sixty-five million dollars by foreign vessels. The intermediate periods show a most painful decadence of our shipping interest and tonnage by transfer and sale to foreign flags, which, at this time of considerable commercial activity, does not so much indicate a want of enterprise in this field of occupation as a want of confidence in the national protection of our flag on the ocean. The national pride of many of our patriotic ship-owners has subjected them to heavy sacrifices in difference of insurance against capture, of two per cent to ten per cent, while the underwriters of the country have been compelled to make great concessions in favor of American shipping, yet without materially affecting the result, and many of them encountering heavy losses by capture, in quarters where they had every reason to believe our commerce would be protected by national vessels of efficiency and power. Indeed, the almost total absence of efficient naval force in many of the great highways of commerce has had a damaging influence on our prospects, by producing a great degree of temerity on the part of the rebel cruisers, and corresponding misgivings on the part of underwriters and others in interest as to whether Government protection would be afforded to our ships laden with valuable cargoes. The want of adequate armed vessels on prominent naval stations for protection of our ships has become so notorious, that underwriters have no longer speculated on the chance of the capture of these rebel cruisers by any of our national ships, but calculate only the chance of escape of our merchantmen, or the possible destruction of the piratical craft from reported unseaworthiness or mutiny. These statements are made with all candor and in no spirit of captiousness, but with a desire to concede that the embarrassment of the Department, which it may not be prudent or practicable to explain to the public, may fully justify the unfortunate position which the want of naval protection has placed our commerce in. Yet, it is respectfully urged that you will give the subject the benefit of the same energy and ability which have so creditably marked the administration of your Department in all other channels of your official duties. No one can better comprehend than one in your position the value of successful commerce at this time of great national expenditure, and a paralysis of so important an interest cannot be contemplated without horror at this period of our national struggle. We beg leave, also, to inclose an extract from the Commercial Advertiser, of the twenty-sixth instant, and to request your attention to the paragraph marked.
We are, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servants,
Richard Lathers, President Great Western Insurance Company.
J. P. Tappan, President Neptune Insurance Company.
F. S. L.athrop, President Union Mutual Insurance Company.
M. II. Grinnell, President Pun Mutual Insurance Company.
Roht. L. Taylob, Merchant Ship-Owner.
C. II. Marshall, Merchant Ship-Owner.
A. A. Low A Bro., Merchant Ship-Owners.
Grinnell, Minturn A Co., Merchant Ship-Owners.
Wilson G. Hunt, Merchant.
Chas. Nkwcomb, Vice-President Merchants' Mutual Insurance Company.
Brown Bros, A Co., Bankers.
W. T. Frost, Merchant Ship-Owner.
Boukht A Knkkland, Merchants.
Duncan, Sherman A Co., Bankers.
Bucklin A Crank, Merchant Ship-Owners.
E. E. Morgan, Merchant Ship-Owner.
Wm. Whitlock, Jr., Merchant Ship-Owner.
Geo. Opdvke, Mayor of New-York City.
August Belmont At Co., Bankers.
Jas. G. Kino's Sons, Bankers.
Archibald Gracib, Merchant.
Howland & Frothinoiiam, Merchant Ship-Owners.
Williams A Guion, Merchant Ship-Owners.
JonN II. Earlb, President New-Vork Mutual Insurance Company.
Isaac Shrrman, Merchant Ship-Owner.
W. A. Salb A Co., Merchant Ship-Owners.
Thomas Dunham, Merchant Ship-Owner.
SrorroRD, Tileston A Co., Merchant Ship-Owners.
Babcock Bros. A Co., Bankers.
SECRETARY WELLES'S REPLY.
Gentlemen: The Department duly received your communication of the twenty-eighth ultimo, in reference to the depredations committed upon American commerce by the Alabama and other rebel cruisers. The pursuit and capture of these vessels is a matter that the Department has constantly in view, and swift steamers have been constantly in search of them, and at times very close on to them. They arc under orders to follow them wherever they may go. The only vessel that had the impudence to attack our flag at the entrance of our harbors—the Tacony—was promptly pursued and her career was soon terminated. The Department had about thirty vessels after her.
I thank you for your expression that energy and ability have creditably marked the administration of the Department in all other channels of official duties. A rigid blockade of the coast has been demanded, and its accomplishment has required all the available force that the Department could bring to bear. To do this, it could not well despatch a larger force than it has in search of piratical rovers. It will continue to give this subject its attention, and hopes, as the avenues to the insurrectionary region are becoming closed and the navy is enlarging, to bo able to have a larger force to pursue the pirates and secure the safety of our commerce abroad.
Very respectfully, Gideon Welles,
Secretary of the Navy.
To Richard Lathers, Esq., and others.
GENERAL HALLECK'S REPORT
Of Operations In 18G3.
Headquarters Op The Armt, ) Washington, D. C, November 15,1863. f
Sir: In compliance with your orders, I submit the following summary of military operations since my last annual report:
DEPARTMENT OF WEST-VIRGINIA AND ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
When General Burnside relieved General McClellan from his command on the seventh of November of last year, the army of the Potomac was on the south side of the Potomac, under instructions to pursue Lee by a flank march on the interior line to Richmond, hugging closely to the Blue Ridge, so as to observe its passes and to give battle to the enemy whenever an opportunity occurred.
On reaching Warrcnton, however, General Burnside proposed to give up this pursuit of Lee's army toward Richmond, and to move down the north side of the Rappahannock to Falmouth, and establish a new base of supplies at Acquia Creek or Belle Plain. This proposed change of base was not approved by me, and in a personal interview at Warrenton I strongly urged him to retain his present base, and to continue his march toward Richmond in a manner pointed out in the President's letter of October thirteenth, 1862, to General McClellan.
General Burnside did not fully concur in the President's view, but finally consented to so modify his plan as to cross his army by the fords of the upper Rappahannock, and then move down and seize the heights south of Fredericksburgh, while a small force was to be sent north of the river to enable General Haupt to reopen the railroad and to rebuild the bridges, the materials for which were nearly ready in Alexandria. I, however, refused to give any official approval of this deviation from the President's instructions until his assent was obtained. On my return to Washington, on the thirteenth, I submitted to him this proposed change in the plan of campaign, and, on its receiving his assent rather than approval, I telegraphed, on tho fourteenth, authority to General Burnside to adopt it I here refer not to General Burnside's written plan to go to Falmouth, but to that of crossing the Rappahannock above its junction with the Rapidan.
It has been inferred, from the testimony of General Burnside before the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, that his plan of marching his whole army on the north of tho Rappahannock from Warrenton to Falmouth, had been approved by the authorities in Washington, and that he expected, on his arrival there, to find supplies and pontoons, with gunboats to cover his crossing. In the first place, that plan was never approved, nor was he ever authorized to adopt it. In the second place, he could not possibly have expected supplies and pontoons to bo landed at points then occupied in force by tho enemy. Again, he was repeatedly informed that gunboats could not at that time ascend the Rappahannock to Fredericksburgh.
General Burnside did not commence his movement from Warrenton till the fifteenth, and then, instead of crossing the Rappahannock by the fords, as he was expected to do, he marched his whole army down on the north bank of the river, his advance reaching Falmouth on the twentieth. Lee's army, in the mean time, moved down the south side of the river, but had not occupied Fredericksburgh on the twenty-first The river was at this time fordable a few miles above the town, and General Sumner asked permission to cross and occupy the heights, but it was refused, and no attempt was made to effect the passage till the eleventh of December, by which time Lee's army had been concentrated and strongly entrenched. This passage, however, was effected without serious opposition, with the right wing and centre, under Sumner and Hooker, at Fredericksburgh, and the left wing, under Franklin, on the bridges established some miles below. It was intended that Franklin's grand division, consisting of the corps of Reynolds and Smith, should attack the enemy's right, and turn his position on the heights in the rear of Fredericksburgh, while Sumner and Hooker attacked him in front But by some alleged misunderstanding of orders, Franklin's operations were limited to a mere reconnoissance, and the direct attacks of Sumner and Hooker were unsupported. The contest on the right wing, during the thirteenth, was continued till half-past five P.m., when our men were forced to fall back, after suffering terrible losses.
Both armies remained in position till the night of the sixteenth of October, when General Burnside withdrew his forces to the north side of the Rappahannock. General Burnside has been frequently requested to make an official report of these operations, but has furnished no information beyond that contained in his brief telegrams, sent from the battle-field, in one of which he uses the following language: "The fact that I decided to move from Warrenton to this line, rather against the opinion of the President, the Secretary of War, and yourself, and that you have left the whole movement in my hands, without giving me orders, makes me the more responsible."
The loss of the rebels in this battle is not known. As they were sheltered by their fortifications, it was probably less than ours, which, as officially reported, was one thousand one hundred and thirty-eight killed, nine hundred and fifteen wounded, and two thousand six hundred and seventy-eight missing. Most of the missing and many of the slightly wounded soon rejoined the regiments and reported for duty.
It was alleged at the time that the loss of this battle resulted from the neglect to order forward the pontoon train from Washington. This order was transmitted from Warrenton to BrigadierGeneral Woodbury, then in Washington, on the twelfth of November, and was promptly acted on
by him. General Burnside had supposed that the pontoon train was then in Washington or Alexandria, while it was still on the Potomac, at Berlin and Harper's Ferry, General Burnside's order to send it to Washington not having been received by the officer left in charge there. General Burnside had only allowed time for transporting pontoons from Alexandria, when they had to be first transported to that place from Berlin. Delay was therefore entirely unavoidable, and, on investigation of the matter by General Burnside, General AVoodbury was exonerated from all blame.
General Hooker relieved General Burnside from his command on the twenty-fifth of January, but no advance movement was attempted till near the end of April, when a large cavalry force, under General Stoneman, was sent across the upper Rappahannock, toward Richmond, to destroy the enemy's communications, while General Hooker, with his main army, crossed the Rappahannock and the Rapidan above their junction, and took position at Chancellorsville, at the same time General Sedgwick crossed near Fredericksburgh, and stormed and carried the heights.
A severe battle took place on the second and third of May, and on the fifth our army was again withdrawn to the north side of the river. For want of official data, I am unable to give any detailed accounts of these operations or of our losses.
It is also proper to remark in this place, that from the time he was placed in the command of the army of the Potomac till he reached Fairfax Station, on the sixteenth of June, a few days before he was relieved from the command, General Hooker reported directly to the President, and received instructions directly from him.
I received no official information of his plans or of their execution.
In the early part of June, Lee's army moved up the south bank of the Rappahannock, occupied the gaps of the Blue Ridge, and threatened the valley of the Shenandoah. General Hooker followed on at interior lines, by Warrenton Junction, Thoroughfare Gap, and Leesburgh. But the operations of both armies were so masked by the intervening mountains, that neither could obtain positive information of the force and movements of the other. Winchester and Martinsburgh were at this time occupied by us simply as outposts. Neither place* was susceptible of a good defence. Directions were therefore given, on the eleventh June, to withdraw their garrisons to Harper's Ferry, but these orders were not obeyed, and on the thirteenth Winchester was attacked, and its armament and a part of the garrison captured. Lee now crossed the Potomac near Williamsport, and directed his march upon Harrisburgh. General Hooker followed on his right flank, covering Washington and Baltimore. On reaching Frederick, Md., on the twenty-eighth June, he was, at his own request, relieved from the command, and Major-General Meade appointed in his place. During these movements, cavalry skirmishes took place at Beverly Ford, Brandy Station, Berryville, and Aldic, some of which were quito severe, but, in the absence of detailed reports, I am unable to give the losses on either side.
When General Meade, under orders of the President, took command of the army of the Potomac, on, the twenty-eighth of June, it was mainly concentrated at Frederick, Maryland. Lee's army was supposed to be advancing against Harrisburgh, which was garrisoned by raw militia, upon which little or no reliance could be placed. Ewell's corps was on the west side of the Susquehanna, between that place and Columbia. Longstreet's corps was near Chambersburgh, and Hill's corps between that place and Cashtown.
Stuart's cavalry was making a raid between Washington and Frederick, cutting Meade's line of supplies and capturing his trains.
Our force at Harper's Ferry at this time was supposed to be about eleven thousand. It was incorrectly represented to General Meade to be destitute of provisions, and that he must immediately supply it, or order the abandonment of the place. Accordingly, a few hours after he assumed the command, he assented to an order drawn up by an officer of General Hooker's staff, directing General French to send seven thousand men of the garrison to Frederick, and with the remainder (estimated at four thousand) to remove and escort the public property to Washington. This order, based on erroneous representations, was not known in Washington till too late to be countermanded. It, however, was not entirely executed when General Meade very judiciously directed the rcoccupation of that important point.
On the twenty-ninth, General Meade's army was put in motion, and at night was in position, its left at Emmittsburgh, and right at New-Windsor. The advance of Buford's cavalry was at Gettysburgh, and Kilpatrick's division at Hanover, where it encountered Stuart's cavalry, which had passed around the rear and right of our army without meeting any serious opposition.
On the thirtieth, the First, Third, and Eleventh corps were concentrated at Emmittsburgh, under General Reynolds, while the right wing moved up to Manchester. Buford reported the enemy in force on the Cashtown road near Gettysburgh, and Reynolds moved up to that place on the first of July. He found our cavalry warmly engaged with the enemy, and holding them in check on the Cashtown road. Reynolds immediately deployed the advance division of the First corps, and ordered the Eleventh corps to advance promptly to its support Wadsworth's division had driven back the enemy some distance, and captured a largo number of prisoners, when General Reynolds fell mortally wounded. The arrival of Swell's corps, about this time, by the York and Harrisburgh roads, compelled General Howard, upon whom the command devolved, to withdraw his force, the First and Eleventh corps, to the Cemetery ridge, on the south side of Gettysburgh. About seven P.m., Generals Sickles and Slocum
arrived on the field with the Third and Twelfth corps, which took position, one on the left and the other on the right of the new line. The battle for the day, however, was over.
General Meade arrived on the field during the night with the reserves, and posted his troops in line of battle, the First corps on the right, the Eleventh corps next, then the Twelfth corps, which crossed the Baltimore pike; the Second and Third corps on the Cemetery ridge. On the left of the Eleventh corps the Fifth corps, pending the arrival of the Sixth, formed the reserve. On the arrival of the latter, about two o'clock P.m., it took the place of the Fifth, which was ordered to take position on the extreme left. The enemy massed his troops on an exterior ridge, about a mile and a half in front of that occupied by us. General Sickles, misinterpreting his orders, instead of placing the Third corps on the prolongation of the Second, had moved it nearly three fourths of a mile in advance, an error which nearly proved fatal in the battle. The enemy attacked this corps on the second with great fury, and it was likely to be utterly annihilated, when the Fifth corps moved up on the left, and enabled it to re-form behind the line it was originally ordered. to hold. The Sixth corps, and part of the First, were also opportunely thrown into this gap, and succeeded in checking the enemy's advance about sunset. The rebels retired in confusion and disorder.
About eight P.m., an assault was made from the left of the town, which was gallantly repelled by the First, Second, and Eleventh corps. On the morning of the first, we regained, after a spirited contest, a part of our line on the right, which had been yielded to sustain other points. On the second, about one P.m., the enemy opened an artillery fire of one hundred and twenty-five guns on our. centre and left. This was followed by an assault of a heavy infantry column on our left and left centre. This was successfully repulsed with terrible loss to the enemy. This terminated the battle, and the rebels retired defeated from the field. The opposing forces in this sanguinary contest were nearly equal in numbers, and both fought with the most desperate courage. The commanders were also brave, skilful, and experienced, and both handled their troops on the field with distinguished ability; but to General Meade belongs the honor of a well-earned victory, in one of the greatest and best-fought battles of the war.
On the morning of the fourth, the enemy apparently occupied a new line in front of our left, but in reality, his army had commenced to retreat, carrying off a part of his wounded. His lines, however, were not entirely evacuated till the morning of the fifth, when the cavalry and Sixth corps were sent in pursuit. The days of the fifth and sixth were employed by General Meade in succoring the wounded and burying the dead left on the battle-field. He then started in pursuit of Lee by a flank movement upon Middletown.
In the mean time General French had reoccu